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CRM Integration Can Boost the Bottom Line
Global Industrial increased revenue by integrating its front and back office.
For the rest of the January 2005 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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Salespeople for industrial supply company Global Industrial were hampered by limited visibility. The division of direct marketer Systemax had previously used a legacy system that stored customer information generated by catalog and online campaigns in two different databases, both of which were rife with multiple entries. When sales reps dispensed a quote or entered an order, their visibility was limited to a price and a text description of the product the customer had spotted in Global Industrial's catalog or on its Web site. Today sales representatives can see much more, including the same picture of the products that customers see, as well as each item's availability and inventory location. Most important, says Global Industrial Vice President Jeff Gregory, all customer information resides on the same database, and duplicate entries have been eliminated. "The amount of information that the sales representative is able to give to a contact and the speed of its delivery is far greater than what we were able to do in the past," Gregory says. "When you enhance your service level, you automatically enhance the relationship and customer satisfaction." Global Industrial was able to make these changes using ProfitCenter Software (PCS), a hosted suite with CRM, ERP, e-commerce, product management, and order-processing capabilities. PCS is a separate subsidiary of Systemax. "When you introduce a new piece of software, people tend to be resistant," Gregory says. "But once our sales reps saw a demonstration [of PCS], they became anxious rather than reluctant. They asked, 'When can we have this?'" Many CRM systems help sales execs forecast revenue by churning out lists of sales opportunities and, sometimes, recent sales quotes. With PCS, higher-ups can see all of that information, plus all orders that have been processed. That high-definition pipeline visibility pleases Gregory, who uses the system to keep tabs on large-dollar quotes, then picks spots where he can lend a hand to cement important deals. The order-processing capabilities also help to reduce Global Industrial's training costs. "We can bring in a brand new order-entry person and put them on the phone much more quickly than we could before," Gregory says. Less product training is required, because PCS delivers much more than a text description and a price figure. "When someone is quoting a price or taking an order, he or she can actually see the product from various angles and read about all of the product's specifications. You click on a link on that SKU to see the Web page that the customer is seeing, or to see a PDF of the picture in the catalog that the customer is seeing."
As a result of the PCS implementation, Global Industrial's e-commerce revenue is up roughly 150 percent. The Payoff By integrating CRM with the back office Global Industrial:
  • reduced order entry time by 30 percent;
  • boosted e-commerce revenue by 150 percent;
  • contributed to a 30 percent increase in annual revenue growth of the parent company; and
  • greatly reduced costs associated with training new employees.
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